During the cold winter months, moisture in your skin can evaporate as quickly as the weather changes in New England. As temperatures and humidity drop, the air dries out, added clothing layers come out and the heat gets turned up – all of which can cause increased dryness, itchiness and irritation of your skin. So, how can you keep your skin happy and healthy this winter season?
Moisturize. Regularly using the right moisturizer can have among the quickest impact on the look and feel of your skin. Steer clear of petroleum-based products. Instead, look for moisturizers containing ceramides and fatty acids. Apply the moisturizer just after getting out of the shower and while your skin is still damp. This helps your skin retain some added moisture.
Moisturize again. Applying moisturizer at least twice a day will go a long way toward winning the cold weather battle. Choose your moisturizing products carefully and consider rotating a couple of your favorites. I often recommend moisturizing oils that contain naturally hydrating ingredients like lavender, chamomile and jojoba. Try getting into the practice of applying your moisturizer again every night before going to bed.
Humidify. Indoor heating systems and fireplaces can quickly dry out the air in your home and create a less-than-ideal environment for your skin. Consider using a humidifier at home, particularly in your bedroom, to bring some moisture back to your indoor environment.
Bundle up. Our parents were all onto something when they scolded us for leaving the house under-dressed during cold weather. A warm coat, proper gloves and a cozy scarf will help keep your skin protected during cold and windy weather.
Hydrate. Although drinking more water will not cure dry skin, it is almost always a good idea. During the winter, we all tend to drink less water but our body still needs it just as much. If you are finding it difficult to drink cold water during freezing temperatures, try an herbal tea or even a splash of lemon in hot water.
Avoid allergens. Particularly if you have eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis, be sure to avoid the triggers that can cause your skin to flare up. Avoid itchy fabrics like wool. And stick to the skin care and cleaning products that you know do not irritate your skin. Look for products that are naturally formulated for sensitive skin, including hand soap, face wash, moisturizers and even laundry detergent.
Apply sunscreen. Sunscreen in the winter is not just for when you vacation someplace warm. Winter sun, especially when combined with the glare of snow, can still damage your skin. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to your face and hands with a 15 SPF or greater about 30 minutes before going outside.
Winter in South County is full of many lovely traditions. Don’t let damaged skin be one of them. For more tips, call, email or visit me at Green Line Apothecary.
The author is the owner and pharmacist at Green Line Apothecary, the pharmacy and soda fountain at 203 Main St. in Wakefield. She holds a doctorate of pharmacy from Northeastern University.